Burlington summer camp run by kids - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Burlington summer camp run by kids

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The Sunshine Theater Camp is winding down its weeklong session, putting the finishing touches on a play that will be performed in front of parents and friends.

"We've had such a great experience through our childhood with theater, so we wanted to share it with our neighbors and our friends," Allie Brown said.

It's a typical summer program with just one twist-- this camp for kids is run by kids.

"Now our fifth year we have 17 campers," Allie said.

Liz Brown, 16, and Allie Brown, 13, are sisters. They run this Burlington camp in their backyard with their 15-year-old friend, Kate Massell. The three call themselves directors. They also have two extra kid counselors on hand to help with the campers that range in age from 5 to 10 years old.

"We know all of them," Liz said. "They're all our neighbors and we're also baby sitters, so it's usually our baby-sitting clients."

"This is just very different, but very fun," said camper Zoe Hecht, 9.

Reporter Gina Bullard: Do you think it's unusual two young girls are running a summer camp?

Allie Brown: We get that a lot... people are usually surprised.

The girls create an entire play from scratch and teach the campers how to sing and dance their way through it in just five short days. This year's production is called "Broadway Bound."

The idea of putting on a play is how the whole thing started. Allie was just 8, but wanted a neighborhood production. And the camp was born.

"We pull songs from famous plays and rewrite the lyrics to match our play," Kate Massell explained.

"It's a lot different than going to a camp run by adults, because adults, I think, are more..." Zoe said.

Any money the camp directors take in does not go to payroll. All of funds go to props and costumes.

"We've learned a lot of skills we can use later in life: writing professional emails, scripts, communicating with kids and just leadership skills," Liz said.

Connecting backyards enable parents and other adult neighbors to pop in, helping to keep a watchful eye on the campers during the week. But really it's the sisters and their friend running the show and showing other kids how to be positive role models.

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